Forget "Read the Bible in One Year"

As the new year quickly approaches many Christians feel compelled to attempt to read through the Bible in one year. Admittedly, the start of a new year does seem like an appropriate place to start. Despite the title of this post, I am not knocking reading through the Bible in a year. I believe strongly in reading through the entire Bible (I have done it myself), but I also think resolving to read it through in one year can be a bad idea for some people.

Here is my concern. Based on one statistical research group, only 8% of those who make resolves for the new year actually accomplish them. So of all the people making resolutions for the new year most will fail. And most of that failure happens before February! The reasons range from unrealistic expectations to just the reality that we are surrounded by temptation and distraction. So where does that leave us? Should we just throw up our hands and admit we are probably part of the 92% failures? Not yet.

So what then? I propose that you forget reading through the entire Bible in one year and instead resolve to just read the Bible faithfully this year. The sad fact is that many Christians don't even read their Bibles every day. Most people check their email and Facebook daily but cannot find the time to squeeze in a verse or two. So this year, as you feel your need for more interaction with your Savior's words to you, resolve simply to read. Here are three simple tips to help you do this so that this also does not end up on the failure pile.

  • A Plan- One thing those super-motivated-read-though-the-Bible-in-a-year-people do have going for them is a plan. This is probably one of the biggest factors to reaching your goal. While there are numerous plans for reading through the Bible in one year there are not so many plans that just help you read your Bible faithfully. But a plan is a must. Create a plan that fits your lifestyle. What time of day works best to fit in reading? What book of the Bible have you really wanted to read through? For those who have no idea consider the Psalms or some of the smaller books of the New Testament (Galatians, Ephesians, Phillipians, or Collosians). Do you like books that read like a story? Consider I and II Kings. But get a plan and write it down.

  • A Place- This is very important to create a setting for success. Pick a place you know you will be and use that place as your reading spot. Maybe it is at the table with your morning coffee. Maybe at night before you sleep. Perhaps it is on the train on your morning commute. For some people who find it nearly impossible to ever just stop and sit for a minute, maybe the bathroom is your place (sorry for the visual here). Find a place and designate it as your reading spot and put your Bible there or place a reminder for you so that when you show up there you will remember that is your reading place.

  • A Person- This is probably the most important tip. Read faithfully with someone. Connect with someone and ask them if you can read the Bible with them. If you are married then your spouse may be the best person since you see them everyday. But don't think you have to be physically present with someone to be reading with them daily. The internet makes people available to us right at our fingertips. You can read with someone and connect through a simple text message. Keep it simple. I read through a couple books of the Bible with a friend and we never met face to face through the entire reading. We connected via email, and text and shared thoughts or just simply texted "read it" for that day. But a getting another person to help you increases your chances of success. 

My hope is that with a more realistic expectation for your reading you will end up in the 8% and will have found that 2012 was a year of faithful Bible reading for you!

**Here is an excellent resource that can help you work up a plan and encourages reading the Bible with someone. It is an inexpensive little book called:

One to One Bible Reading a simple guide for every Christian by David Helm. 

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